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Cal Basketball

Scott Addresses Recruiting Scandal at Pac-12 Media Day

October 12, 2017
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Conference commissioner Larry Scott kicked things off for Pac-12 Men's Basketball Media Day with comments about the overall strength of the Pac-12 conference.

"When I met with you at Media Day last year, we were coming off of arguably the most successful season we had ever had with seven teams making the NCAA Tournament and a lot of optimism about growing from there," said Scott. "I think the '16-'17 season delivered on that for us in that we hit some additional milestones. We had three teams with 30-win seasons, the first time we've had that. And we're the only conference in the country that had three 30-win teams. We had three teams end the year in the Top 10. Our Pac-12 teams had the second best win percentage and the third most overall wins in the NCAA Tournament."

Scott also addressed the controversy surrounding the arrest of Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson and USC assistant coach Tony Bland as well as the sweeping investigation now taking place surrounding corruption in NCAA basketball recruiting.

"Before I turn the program over to our coaches and student-athletes who I know you're here to hear from, I definitely want to address the news that's been out there in collegiate basketball around the indictments that were handed down against a number of college basketball figures, including two assistant coaches in the Pac-12, along with the NCAA's announcement yesterday of the formation of a commission on college basketball," said Scott.

"Protection of our student-athletes and of the integrity of collegiate sports are our most important priorities. The F.B.I. charges that we've all read are deeply troubling, not just to myself and to the conference, but to all of our schools. We have to use this moment to take a closer look and more careful look at what's going on in the sport of college basketball and our collegiate athletic programs more generally and make sure that they're being operated in compliance, not just with NCAA rules, but with the law. For this reason, I really applaud and welcome the NCAA's decision to announce the Commission on College Basketball that they announced yesterday, chaired by Stanford's Dr. Condoleezza Rice.

"This commission is going to examine many aspects of what's going on in collegiate basketball and the role of outside groups that have influence, such as apparel companies, agents, non-scholastic basketball programs, and the role of the professional leagues -- in this case, the NBA. This national commission will make recommendations to the membership on ways to improve the system for our student-athletes and our schools. We look forward to being actively engaged as a conference in supporting that initiative, which we hope will very quickly focus on actionable steps, to learn from the information that's out there and to look to improve college basketball, which is very important to the country and important to student-athletes, important to our schools.

"At the same time, at the Pac-12, announcing today that we're going to be forming our own task force to address issues that are threatening the integrity of collegiate athletics and to protect our student-athletes. Our Pac-12 Task Force will support and supplement the NCAA's national effort. But we're going to take advantage of the expertise and the knowledge that we've got directly and indirectly through our conference, from coaches to athletics administrators, former student-athletes.

"We're close to members of the shoe and apparel companies that are based out here in the West, to others involved in collegiate basketball -- agents, folks associated with the AAU, and all of those that are involved in the pathway from youth and high school and AAU basketball to college and to the NBA. Importantly, our task force is going to look at the issues raised by the F.B.I. investigation and do deep dives into the culture and issues around recruitment and men's college basketball, but, more broadly, at related issues and examine how some of the things we've seen in basketball could potentially impact other sports.

"This is particularly the case when it comes to recruitment in other sports where we're increasingly seeing trends, more and more influence and involvement from third parties. Our Pac-12 Task Force will have four clear mandates that they'll be working on. The first is to help educate our university leadership -- presidents, chancellors, athletics directors -- the conference as a whole, in terms of the overall environment and landscape in basketball, and to help identify the issues and learn as much as we can from what's been going on.

"Secondly, the task force will develop a recommendations and best practices for Pac-12 schools and Pac-12 leadership, as we look at our programs going forward and look to shore up and tighten up our procedures, our policies, and the overall environment around college sports at Pac-12 schools so our schools can continue to be on the forefront of how they operate their programs.

"Third, our task force will develop specific proposals that will be made to the NCAA to support the work the NCAA basketball commission is doing. Proposals have to come from somewhere. We think we have a very unique vantage point and ability to provide a leadership role in helping the NCAA do its important work nationally as they consider national rules changes, policy changes, et cetera. Lastly, in analyzing all these issues, we expect to bring forward proposals to apply the task force's learnings to address recruiting issues that may exist in other sports where the influence of third parties is growing. We're in the process of developing the roster that will be on our task force. We expect to have 10 to 12 members of it.

"This morning I'm announcing the first five members of the task force, a combination of inside administrators and outsiders with a very direct and relevant experience and perspective on what's happening in the environment. Two of our athletics directors, Dan Guerrero and Chris Hill, Dan from UCLA and Chris from Utah, have both served on the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee. Danny has been chair of the committee, and he's also been head of the NCAA's Basketball Oversight Committee.

"Former football student-athlete, NFL professional athlete and FOX Sports analyst Charles Davis will be on our task force. Highly respected collegiate administrator Tom Jernstedt, who ran the NCAA Tournament and oversaw college basketball for the NCAA for many years, will be on our task force. And our own Mike Montgomery, former Stanford and Cal coach. He's legendary Hall of Fame Coach Mike Montgomery, not just because you're standing there, but Mike more importantly is also serving on the NCAA Basketball Commission. And this will give us an important link to the national effort with our local effort again."

 
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